Hula Hooping is as Easy as 1-2 -3


Author: Paula Scott


Hula hooping is both a fun and energizing form of exercise. Recently we talked about how it got its start, but today let’s take action and do it! (insert link from previous post here) It takes only a little bit of practice to master the skill, along with a bit of flexibility.

 Here’s an Easy 3-step Lesson How to Hoop:

1. Make sure you have the right sized hula hoop!
If you’re using a kid-sized hoop, forget it! Most hula hoops that you can buy at stores like Target or Toys R Us are kid-sized. Unless you’re the size of a child, a child-sized hoop is not going to work for you — especially if you’re a beginner! You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache (and gain a lot of fun) if you make or buy a hoop that’s the right size for you.

What’s the right size? Try this: Stand with your hoop in front of you. The general rule of thumb to follow is that when the hoop is resting on the ground, it should reach somewhere between stomach and chest height. However, if you have an apple-shaped body and a large waist, you’ll want to compensate for that as well. The bigger you are, the bigger the hoop should be. The bigger the hoop, the slower it will rotate around your body and the easier it is to use. The smaller the hoop, the more challenging it is. Larger hoops will rotate slower, making getting started easier. Smaller than that will make the hoop rotate faster, which is more challenging, but also better for doing tricks and exercising.

FYI – Weighted hula hoops, which are available at most sporting goods stores, are bigger and heavier than traditional hula hoops. Remember, any type of hula hooping can be an aerobic activity — especially if you’re able to hoop for 10 minutes or longer at a time. You can use weighted hula hoops or traditional hula hoops as part of an overall fitness program or simply as a fun way to burn calories or add variety to your workout routine.

2. Take hold of the hula hoop.  Lower it down to about ankle level.  Step into it (with both feet).  Bring it up to just below your waist.

Hold it with both hands and pull it forward so that it’s resting against your back.  With both hands, fling the hoop to the left so that its inner edge rolls in a circle around your body. Do this a few times so that you get the feel of it.

3. Put one foot in front of the other, and shift your weight.  Hold the hoop against your back. You can start it a little above your waist. Then, push the hoop around your waist, and shift your weight back and forth on your feet to keep the hoop moving.

Easier said than done? Having trouble keeping it up? Here are some more tips:

Many people try to move their hips in a circle with the hoop. This actually makes hooping much harder. Try this: put one foot in front of the other and just shift your weight back and forth from foot to foot. It’s less of a circular hip motion and more of just a rocking or pumping motion.

In terms of which direction to hoop in, try ’em both! You’ll know right away which one is right for you. Right-handed people generally hoop counter-clockwise, while lefties go clockwise, but many people are exceptions to this rule.

Be Patient. It can take awhile to get the hang of it. Don’t give up! 

Scott, PaulaPaula Scott is a Utah State University Extension associate professor.  She is the state director of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).  Paula is a master’s graduate of Utah State University.  She has worked in food and nutrition positions for approximately 20 years focusing on educating people in the community.  Paula co-authored a national nutrition education curriculum for nutrition paraprofessionals. She is a Certified Family Home and Consumer Scientist, with experience in food and basic nutrition, and has always been interested in exercise and fitness, promoting the importance of nutrition and physical activity.




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